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The Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the EU

Written by Vilma Karvelyte and Ingeborg Odink


Government of the Netherlands

Every 6 months on a rotating schedule , one European Union (EU) Member State leads the work of the Council of the EU. From 1 January 2016, the Netherlands will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Luxembourg and will hold it until 30 June 2016, when the Presidency will be passed to the next trio partners Slovakia (from 1 July 2016) and Malta (from 1 January 2017). The Netherlands have already held the revolving  presidency of the Council of the EU eleven times between 1960 and 2004. The Declaration of Cooperation among the Houses of Parliaments of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta in support of the preparation and fulfilment of the parliamentary dimension of the Presidencies of these three EU Member States was signed on 20 April 2015.

The main priorities of the Netherlands Presidency’s six month programme are: 1) migration and international security; 2) creating growth and jobs through innovation; 3) sound finances and robust Eurozone; and 4) forward-looking climate and energy policy. These broad priorities are in line with the Council’s June 2014 Strategic agenda for the EU . More information on the Netherlands Presidency’s priorities can be found on the Presidency website .


The Netherlands Presidency – official website:
This website provides the latest news from the Dutch Presidency, live broadcasts from events and practical information.

Calendar for Council meetings during the first semester of 2016, January 2016

The agenda includes meetings and activities to be held in Brussels, Strasbourg and Amsterdam.

Knowledge & Innovation Calendar , Netherlands House for Education and Research, 20 November 2015
This Knowledge and Innovation Calendar provides an overview of all events scheduled by Dutch knowledge institutes during the Dutch presidency. These events will showcase best practices in Dutch education, research and innovation projects.

Recommendations and outlooks

Letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the House of Representatives on substantive preparations for the 2016 Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 28 January 2015, 16 p.

Letter from the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs on the priorities for the Dutch EU-Presidency, 14 December 2014, 5 p. (in Dutch)

Priority dossiers under the Dutch EU Council Presidency / Dora Boytha, European Parliamentary Research Service, 17 December 2015, 9 p.
This note aims to present the state of affairs in the policy fields of Dutch priority, as well as the most important related dossiers to be addressed by the Dutch Presidency.

The EESC priorities during the Dutch Presidency , 2015, 15 p.

Press release of the Committee of the Regions – Dutch EU Presidency to focus on investments, urban strategy and better regulation in 2016

TEPSA-recommendations to the Dutch EU-Presidency , 2015, 21 p.
Recommendations of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) and representatives from national and European political institutions, civil society, media and academia on the priorities of the Dutch Council Presidency and other topics that are relevant on the current and future EU agenda.

The Netherlands: An Unexpectedly Turbulent EU Presidency / David Bokhorst , European Futures, 7 December 2015
This article takes a closer look at the challenges which the Netherlands will have to face in coordinating Council affairs.

Amnesty International recommendations to the Dutch EU Presidency , January – June 2016, 12 p.
Amnesty International recommendations to the Dutch EU Presidency on human rights issues in relation to six thematic areas: migration, anti-discrimination, human rights in the EU, human rights defenders, conflict minerals, and ending torture.

The European Asscher agenda / the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, 9 December 2015, 11 p.
The sensitive topic of labour migration is one of the main focal points of the Dutch Presidency. The aim of this policy brief is to identify the areas of tension with regard to this specific priority of the Dutch EU Presidency. The challenges posed by the Dutch agenda include the balance between internal market and social policy objectives, the diverging interests of the “receiving” and  “sending” countries and the role of labour migration in the EMU.

Recommendations of the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union speaking for American business in Europe (AmCham EU) to the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 2015, 28 p.
AmCham EU believes that the Dutch Presidency comes at critical time in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations and hopes that the Netherlands will continue to help facilitate these and push for more enhanced cooperation across the Atlantic. AmCham EU hopes the Dutch openness and commitment to trade will also be a determining factor in pushing for a more ambitious EU trade policy and pleads for action in five key areas: building skills for the future, furthering integration of the single market, promoting revolutionary change for industrial leadership, developing new models of innovation and entrepreneurship, and fostering Europe’s leadership in an integrated global economy.

The Social and Employment Situation in the Netherlands and Outlook on the Dutch EU Presidency 2016 / Bert-Jan Buiskool, Simon Broek, Giancarlo Dente, Policy Department A: Economy and Scientific Policy, European Parliament, October 2015, 12 p.
This European Parliament briefing note gives an overview of current issues in the employment and social policy fields in the Netherlands, and prospects for the Dutch Presidency.

Dutch Presidency: The stars aligned? / Arne Koeppel, FTI Consulting, September 2015, 4 p.
In this publication, Dutch Public Affairs firm IvCB, together with FTI Consulting, takes a closer look at the upcoming Presidency and analyses its’ significance for business.

Fern’s proposed priorities for the Dutch Presidency: Addressing EU Drivers of Deforestation , March 2015, 2 p.
In this publication, non-governmental organisation Fern highlights three policy areas where they see a clear role for the Netherlands to take an initiative under its Council Presidency, namely: an Action Plan on reducing deforestation and respecting rights, EU sustainable bioenergy policy and a follow up on the outcomes of the review of the FLEGT Action Plan.


Programme of the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union (1 January – 30 June 2016), 21 p. (in English)

On 3 December 2015 the General Affairs Council endorsed The 18 month programme of the Council (1 January 2016 – 30 June 2017) , prepared by the Dutch, Slovak and Maltese Presidencies and the High Representative, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Council, 3 December 2015, 24 p.
This programme will serve as a guideline for the presidency for the next 18 months and is to provide continuity to the policy followed by the Council of the European Union.

Country-related information is the collective website of the 11 Dutch ministries . The site provides information on legislative proposals, regulation and policy plans, e.g. the stage of proceedings they are in, their consequences for citizens etc. The site also provides information on the Dutch government , e.g. government plans. Information from the Government and its ministries to the non-Dutch speaking international and domestic public is communicated via the English language website . is the central access point to all information about government organisations in the Netherlands. ‘Dutch government websites’ provides a selection of websites on subjects such as tourism, trade and culture. You will also find links to the English-language pages. of the websites of Dutch government organisations. Under ‘About the Dutch government’ you will find information on how Dutch government services are organised.

The country page of One World Nations Online gives a broad overview of Netherlands’ art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.


Statistics Netherlands provides statistical information on a multitude of societal aspects, from macro-economic indicators such as economic growth and consumer prices, to the incomes of individual people and households in the Netherlands.

Eurostat provides statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions. Here you can also find a statistical profile of the Netherlands .

Facts and figures about the Netherlands and its representation and position in the EU can be found on the country page of the official website of the European Union ( )


Latest (website of the Netherlands Presidency)

TV-Newsroom (website of the Council of the European Union)

Latest news about Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the EU , source EMM (European Commission)

EurActiv – EU news and policy debates: Dutch Presidency


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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

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